Friday, February 25, 2011

Religious inclusiveness and civility

Westminster Town Hall Forum hosted a lecture and exchange February 24th with US Congressman Keith Ellison.  He spoke on religious inclusiveness.  Congressman Ellison closed his formal remarks with the following "Our differences make us beautiful to God and our humanity binds us together."

With the way politics operates in the USA he noted we need to have a collective conversation about civility.  There is a project that was begun in Duluth Minnesota years ago called "Speak your peace: The civility project".

They recommend we all utilize the following skills to enhance our civil engagement:

  1. Pay attention. Be aware and attend to the people around you.
  2. Listen. Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view.
  3. Be inclusive. Welcome all groups of citizens working for the greater good of the community.
  4. Don't gossip. And don't accept when others choose to do so.
  5. Show respect. Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of disagreement.
  6. Be agreeable. Look for opportunities to agree. Don't contradict just to do so.
  7. Apologize. Be sincere and repair damaged relationships
  8. Give Constructive Criticism. When disagreeing stick to the issues and don't make a personal attack.
  9. Take responsibility. Don't shift responsibility and blame onto others; share disagreements publicly. 

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